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Australia Reopens Its Borders To International Travel After 2 Years

Australia Reopens Its Borders To International Travel After 2 Years
For the very first time in almost two years, the international border of Australia has been reopened, bringing with it happy family reunions and a much-needed boost to tourism. After shutting down in March 2020 owing to Covid, the country enacted some of the world's harshest travel bans.
Most foreigners have had to wait since late last year when Australians and others were allowed to return. On Monday, as hundreds of people arrived on aircraft, there were sad reunions at Sydney Airport.
Visitors who have been double-jabbed are exempt from quarantine, but unvaccinated travelers must stay in a hotel for up to 14 days at their own expense. On Monday, more than 50 international flights were scheduled to arrive. All states are open to visitors, with the exception of Western Australia, which is closed until March 3 and requires three vaccinations.
"What wonderful, wonderful news for our tourism industry and the 660,000 people employed in it," said Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment Dan Tehan.
In 2019, Australia received around 9.5 million international tourists. Tehan expressed optimism for a significant recovery in the tourism industry, which has also been harmed by internal travel limitations.
The country's tight policies were criticized for dividing families and suffocating companies, but they were also credited with saving many lives before vaccines became accessible. There have been approximately 4,900 Covid fatalities in Australia.
Dawn the koala, like the sunrise, is a sign of better days ahead for Australia's struggling tourism economy.
At Sydney's Featherdale Wildlife Park, she is one of the main attractions. Before Australia's borders were slammed shut, international tourists were its lifeblood, accounting for two-thirds of its earnings.
The park has survived thanks to domestic visitors, but the reopening of Australia's borders represents a watershed moment.
"The fact that we can really start welcoming people back is going to do a lot for our morale," said the park's managing director, Chad Staples.
While there is excitement for the future, there is also apprehension about anticipating too much, too fast in the tourist area of Leura in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains.
"It is not going to be a magic recovery," said Careem Angel, from Josophan's Fine Chocolates.
It will take time to rebuild Australia's multibillion-dollar travel industry.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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